Former UK Football All-American, Warren Bryant dies
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) - Warren Bryant, a dominant offensive tackle who helped lead Kentucky to a share of the 1976 Southeastern Conference championship, has died in Smyrna, Ga., at the age of 65.
Bryant, who came to UK from Miami, Fla., played for the Wildcats from 1973-76 under Coach Fran Curci. In his senior season, he helped lead the Wildcats to a 9-3 record and a share of the Southeastern Conference championship. The ‘76 season included wins against 20th-ranked Penn State, No. 16 LSU, No. 15 Florida, and was capped with a 21-0 win over No. 19 North Carolina in the Peach Bowl.
Bryant earned numerous accolades during his career. He was named first-team All-America by the American Football Coaches Association and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. He is the only Wildcat who has won the coveted Jacobs Award as the most outstanding blocker in the SEC. He was a three-year first-team All-SEC selection by both The Associated Press and United Press International and was named to the Lakeland Ledger 25-year All-SEC team, covering the years 1961-85. In 1990, he was chosen for the All-Time Kentucky Teams selected by the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal.
“Warren was one of the greatest players in the history of Kentucky football,” said UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart. “His legacy will continue, as he set a standard for offensive line play at UK. He was loved by his teammates, not only for his performance on the field, but also for his personality off the field. Our prayers and condolences are with his family and friends.”
Having been described as a gentle giant, Bryant also was known by the name “Clyde” during his days at Kentucky. Soon after arriving at UK, one of his teammates took a look at the 6-6, 240-pound freshman and said, “You look like one of those big Clydesdales!” and the nickname stuck. His size was equaled by his eventual impact on the Kentucky program.
“Warren was the first big recruit we got,” said Fran Curci, head coach of the Wildcats from 1973-81. “After we got Warren, everybody else fell in behind him. Everyone respected Warren – he was sensational as a player and also a gentleman, fun to be around.”
After his Kentucky days, Bryant was taken by the Atlanta Falcons in the first round (No. 6 overall selection) of the 1977 NFL Draft and earned a spot on the NFL All-Rookie Team. He played for the Falcons from 1977-84, helping the team to the first playoff berth in franchise history (1978), before finishing his career with the Los Angeles Raiders during the ‘84 season.
A member of the UK Athletics Hall of Fame and retired jersey honoree, he represented UK in the 2005 class of the Legends of SEC Football. He was named to the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
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